Raising Eyebrows at The Brow Bar

Image source: Photographer Megan Gill

Before The Brow Bar recognised their true power, eyebrows have always been an afterthought – or an obsession. Now, founders Chernae and Briarna Silk are reaching beyond the brows to resculpt our self-worth, as Georgia Beard discovers. 

As the beauty industry applies, cleanses and reapplies trends, no facial feature has known transformation quite like the eyebrows. 

From the sloping half-moons of the 1920s to the lofty arches of the 50s; to the overplucked wires of the 90s and the brushed-up bushes of today, brows have stepped into their own spotlight. 

We give them all the attention during the beauty routine, styling and sculpting the hairs independently from the face. Now, eyebrows tend to enter a room before the person.

Chernae Silk, Founder and Creative Director of The Brow Bar for 20 years, has witnessed the excessive power of the brows and redirected that power to where it belongs – the soul.

Partnering with her sister Briarna Silk, Chernae founded this specialist brow salon in Brisbane after several years as a mobile make-up artist. What started in a hairdresser’s storage room in 2003 soon expanded to ten salons across Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. 

Chernae’s eyebrow empire went on to shape 70,000 eyebrows a year, collate a steady list of celebrity clientele and even win a legal battle with luxury conglomerate LVMH when its brand house, Benefit Cosmetics, attempted to trademark her longstanding phrase ‘Brow Bar’. 

The exit strategy to sell the branded concept in southern states and downsize now means there are five salons under The Brow Bar in Brisbane with a new salon just launched in Noosa. 

Now a matriarch of the industry, Chernae is ready to train a new generation of brow artists and teach women the secrets of business longevity and how to achieve their dreams.

An example of this is Inna, who has been trained to grow as an artist and business owner and has purchased three salons as a licensed brand partner with Chernae and Briarna continuing to help her grow her dream empire.

Chernae said they will be offering elite training and distribution of their retail lines worldwide in 2023 after being asked for decades to share their secrets.

“Sadly many salons didn’t survive the pandemic and we attribute our longevity to a love of what we do and our proven ‘beyond brows’ business systems,” she said. “We’ve invested in our processes, so it’s time to share our knowledge.”

While Chernae offers clients quality over quantity in Noosa, Briarna is busy running the salon floors in Brisbane as Operations Manager, Trainer and Eyebrow/Lash Specialist. 

Briarna is a legend in her own right, chasing a whirlwind career in athletics alongside beauty. She travelled to Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Paralympics, running the Paratriathlon as a guide to Katie Kelly. 

Back home, she belongs to the Noosa Tri Legends Club with 17 years of racing behind her, including placing third in the Female Open category for the Solo Triathlon this year! 

The sisters’ personal and integrative approach to brow beauty empowers clients with confidence and self-love.

 They recognise eyebrows as the communication between the heart and the head – and they’re vital for turning attention on your windows to the soul.

In the Noosa salon, Chernae’s brow restorations, lash lifts and cosmetic makeovers will include a new lash bar and body sugaring service with an original range of beauty products. 

The Brow Lift-Shaping service refreshes and balances your brows to complement your eyes and broader facial structure using the 5 C’s – Consultation, Colour, Clean, Contour and Coaching. 

“Clients go through a technical brow awakening in our consultation process,” Chernae said. “It’s not just a wax, tweeze and alignment process anymore. It’s about connecting with their emotional side, what they want to achieve, what the energy of their brow brings, their colour and tonality.”

Chernae’s Arch Angels use colour analysis to guide the client’s ideal brow colouring, identifying tones in the skin, hair and eyes. Chernae has also taught her girls the art of face reading – a specialty which has seen Chernae dubbed The Brow Whisperer.

According to Chernae, your jawline, nose orientation, cheekbone height, forehead curves and natural brow angles all communicate your story – whether you’re ambitious or flirtatious, creative or logical, independent or grounded.

When you settle into the salon chair, The Brow Bar uproots common industry techniques for brow alignment. 

Rather than lining up the head of the brow with the outer nostril, Chernae draws the eyebrows closer by aligning the heads with the sides of the nasal tip. 

She also elongates the arches by lining them up with the centre of the iris and the tip of the nose. 

“People used to shape the brow from underneath, but all our shaping is done from the top of the brow and the angle from the tail to the top of the ear,” she says. “When ladies are waxed too far underneath, they end up with the round brow, which reflects the shadows underneath the eye. This mirrors the worst parts, the lag lines and down lines.

“We choose to honour the lift lines of the face – the jawline, cheekbones, under-eye lines and brow lines.”

The Brow Bar also takes those eyebrows plucked to oblivion and puts them through brow rehab with natural growth serums, maintaining the cycle of hair growth. 

When brows grow too long, The Brow Bar de-bulks by breaking the hairs with tweezers instead of cutting with scissors to encourage a downy texture. 

“Fluffy, full, natural and low-maintenance is how your brows should be,” Chernae said. 

Following the sculpting process, the Arch Angels offer a confidence boost with a selection of the salon’s original cosmetics, from primers, tinted moisturisers and concealers to blushers, lip balms and eyeliners. 

The culmination of The Brow Bar’s treatment is a life changed. After their brow transformations, Chernae and Briarna have seen lonely clients find love and insecure clients find self-confidence. 

That newfound emotional connection between the client and their own identity is what keeps the sisters in the salon. 

“As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to have an emotional driver or a spiritual connection to why you get up in the morning, otherwise it becomes monotonous and you’re just doing it for the money,” Chernae said. “That’s why, after twenty years, we’re still here. Because we love it.” 

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